Ten things in Paris… that make me think I’m turning French

After nearly two months here (and four in France! That’s two Oxford terms!) I fear/ hope/ believe I may be going native.

10. People ask me for directions in the street. I respond in French even when I can tell that theirs is very wobbly (and they’re clearly Anglophone), and wait for them to capitulate and ask if I speak English before returning to my native tongue. Unless they’re looking for Cityrama and I’m in a bad mood, in which case I just shrug and walk away…

9. I can no longer type on either a QWERTY or AZERTY keyboard. Either way I think I’m using the other, resulting in very odd typos…

8. I insist on taking the French audioguides around châteaux, museums etc., even when English is available. I glare at the people giving them out if they try to offer me English (or worse, speak to me in English!)

7. Having run out of cheese on a Monday, I decide to wait until Wednesday when I will be passing a market to buy some more. The day ends with the immortal moment when I have to knock on the office door to be let back in and explain that I left my cheese in the fridge.

6. I drink my coffee out of a bowl. When I come across a photo from last summer of a bowl of coffee, which I obviously took because I thought it was really unusual, I smile at my own innocence. As a lifelong biscuit dunker I am definitely converted to toast dunking: the more heavily laden with butter and jam the better!

5. I haven’t eaten a croissant in months. They’re for tourists, obviously!

4. I get annoyed by people taking photos of monuments, towers etc. Yes, I know you want to change your Facebook profile picture to you in front of the Eiffel Tower, but you’re in the cycle lane and I’m cold, tired and grumpy, so MOVE!

3. I weave in and out of traffic and am irritated by cars that stop too close to one another to allow this: just because you’re stuck behind thirty million other vehicles heading up the Champs Élysées doesn’t mean I have to be too!

2. I have taken trains from four different stations (sadly not Austerlitz or Gare de l’Est yet!) and wrestled every form of ticket purchase known to Parisian, including the one where you have to buy your ticket from the conductor because the system’s broken down, and he gives the woman in front a discount because he doesn’t have any change, then finds some, but gives you a discount too because otherwise it wouldn’t be very fair!

1. I have made 108 trips by Vélib, totalling 35h 19 mins, and collected 90 bonus minutes by parking at stations in awkward places. I dread to think how many kilometres that is…


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